A pair of intriguing player additions made by the Arizona Cardinals within the last couple of weeks could pay dividends in 2019
The Arizona Cardinals’ front office people have been on their game lately. Steve Keim and company are well aware that improvements need to be made to the roster. The situation with the squad is so dire that management has already begun to add reinforcements that can help them going forward.
This past Tuesday, fans of the Cardinals found an extra Christmas present under their trees. D.J. Swearinger, released by the Washington Redskins the day before, was claimed off of the waiver wire. According to reports, the safety was let go by the ‘Skins because he publicly criticized the team’s coaching staff.
Six days before the Swearinger acquisition, Arizona addressed a position that was in dire need of an upgrade. The Los Angeles Rams, needing a roster spot for the newly-acquired C.J. Anderson, sent kick returner Pharoh Cooper packing. The Cards gladly pounced on the 23-year old, giving themselves a player who had been voted to the Pro Bowl just last year.
What do these two moves mean for the Cardinals? In Swearinger, the defense gets an individual who will almost certainly assume a starting role next fall. Current starter Antoine Bethea has performed admirably over the last few months, but will turn 35 next summer.
Cooper gives Arizona a return specialist who can run back both kickoffs and punts. The 5’11, 208 pounder averaged 27.4 yards on kickoff returns and 12.5 yards per punt return in 2017, earning himself the trip to the Pro Bowl. Cooper also believes that he can be effective as a wide receiver, so he may get a look at that spot as well.
Swearinger is set to begin his second stint in the desert. The 27-year old was with the Cards for both the 2015 and 2016 campaigns. Swearinger was most impressive in ’16, when he racked up 66 tackles, three interceptions, two sacks and eight passes defensed.
The 5’10, 205 pounder was even better with the Redskins. Swearinger tallied 79 tackles, four picks and 10 pass breakups in ’17. In 15 contests this past season, the University of South Carolina product amassed 53 tackles, four interceptions and another 10 passes defensed.
Both Swearinger and Cooper figure to play prominent roles with the Cardinals in 2019 and beyond. Kudos to Keim and his cohorts for being as proactive as they’ve been. Hopefully, there will be more solid additions made by the Redbirds during the upcoming offseason.